Page 3223 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 18 October 2022
MR CAIN (Ginninderra) (3.20): I certainly want to thank my colleague Ms Lawder for bringing this motion before the Assembly. My own electorate of Ginninderra is home to many seniors, and this needs to be a city for them as well. I spend a lot of my time as a local member responding to complaints by these elderly residents about the state of services and accessibility.
I especially like Ms Lawder’s call on the government to accelerate the replacement and repair of footpaths. Recently, and over the past few months, I have had several calls to go and visit some of the damaged footpaths in Ginninderra and, in particular, as they have affected senior community members. I walked to and from the Kippax group centre with an elderly woman who needs to use a walking frame and finds it very difficult to navigate the cracked cement and raised edges along this stretch. In fact, last year she took a very serious fall while trying to navigate one section of this footpath.
I travelled to Higgins shops and was very concerned about the cracked pathways in front of Higgins shops, and I have seen on a few occasions the impassable pavements in the park behind O’Dea Place, in Holt. Around the Kangara Waters retirement home, there are cracked footpaths in areas where senior citizens would love to go for walks, and to be able to walk in safety. Sadly, being able to walk in safety is not the case in every part of my electorate.
For a government who encourage an active lifestyle, particularly for our senior citizens, this service delivery is very lacking, and it is very negligent of them. Our damaged footpaths are, to our senior citizens, what our potholed roads are to our drivers today. We are again seeing reflected in this government’s commitment to basic services a failure across the board.
I thank Ms Lawder for bringing this motion before us, and I certainly commend it to this Assembly.
MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (3.23): I want to start by thanking Ms Lawder for moving this motion today. I want to make a few brief comments in relation to the government’s approach, particularly to making sure that our city’s streets are accessible for all Canberrans, including older Canberrans.
We know, through the ongoing program of work with the Age-Friendly Suburbs Program, that when we make streets accessible for older Canberrans through that universal design, it is good for people of all ages to move about. This is a big focus of the ACT government’s active travel plan, on which we have been consulting with the community.
We know that walking is the easiest and most accessible form of active travel for many Canberrans. It is a form of travel that we are examining at the moment through the household travel survey, to get a better understanding not only of people’s needs but also of how they are using other modes of travel around the city.
We are hoping to promote more sustainable forms of travel amongst all age groups. That is why the active travel plan has set out a range of different actions for